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Headshot advice for talent and actors

Headshot advice for talent and actors

Spotlight Headshot advice for talent

If you are having your headshot taken for Spotlight then it’s worth noting their headshot advice for talent

  • It should be a recent head and shoulders shot.
  • Blurry, pixelated or amateur photography will make you look unprofessional and will put casting directors off.
  • Keep your appearance as neutral as possible. Remember, a casting professional wants to see the ‘real’ you.
  • Wear something simple and avoid props, hats, distracting backgrounds and accessories.
  • Your eyes are your most important feature, so make sure they are as visible as possible.
  • Don’t let the photographer photoshop out wrinkles, heavily airbrush, or use dramatic studio lighting.

Headshot advice for talent

How often should I get new headshots?

General advise seemed unanimous that headshots need to be update every year or two. If you’ve drastically changed your appearance with a hair cut or colour then it’s certainly time to update your pictures.

How many photos should I have on my Spotlight profile?

Two or three good images should be enough for a casting director to get what they need from your profile.

Colour or black and white photograph?

Black and white photos are still popular but casting directors do have a preference for colour images.

How should the images be cropped?

For U.K. castings a closer cropped head and shoulders image is preferred. We photograph looser to offer wider cropped images should you need them.

Make-up & styling

The look you are going for is you on a good day. Keep makeup simple and subtle. Bring makeup with you to the shoot and if you unsure of your look then speak to your photographer.


Keep outfits and simple as possible, avoid logos, large lettering and illustrations. Bring 2-4 different outfit changes with you to the shoot.


Advise from the Actors Guild in Clothing

I think darker, solid colours tend to work best. Take a few options, varied neck lines but not all too wide or low so that we still see some of the top and allow it to frame your face, even in the tighter crops. White isn’t good in my experience, but you might include one or two lighter coloured tops for variation. A white shirt under a jacket is fine. T-shirts with low necklines can look like dance tops on men so not necessarily ideal for headshots. Maybe a casual jacket and a smarter one if you like. For men some shots in a shirt and jacket with and without a tie on might be useful to include if a corporate / business look is of use to you.

Further Headshot advice for actors

I found a rather interesting video from Matt Newton, one of the most sought-after on-camera acting coaches in New York City. His clients include Tony winners, Emmy award winners, Golden Globe nominees, and well-known actors from film and TV.

Posing a preparation for your headshot

This video from Michael Wharley gives some great headshot advice for talent and actors.
Here are the key points in the video:
1. You’re not doing it wrong
2. Know your face
3. Making an offer
4. Stay loose
5. Posture
6. Trust your photographer
7. Where to look
8. Communication with your eyes
9. Using your review time

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